David Knights' Weblog

December 22, 2020

Time management

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:42 pm

As 2020 comes to a close, I look back pretty satisfied.  I completed 4 models, which, while not a record, was more than I’ve done in a year in quite a while.  I also experimented with new techniques and managed to keep at least 1 kit, the AS-1 from becoming a shelf queen.

While satisfied, that doesn’t mean that there is not room for improvement.  While I completed 4 models, I also recognize I’ve spent more time in the model room than ever before.  I feel like I should still be more productive with the time spent.  Also, overall, as I get older, I realize how precious our time is.  I’ve taken some steps to try and “recover” more time.  I’ve cut down drastically on my TV viewing.  I probably spend more time watching modeling videos on YouTube, than I spend watching TV.  More importantly, I am trying to become more organized.  If I can spend my time more efficiently, then I should be able to squeeze more modeling out of the time allotted.  Finally, something I’ve known, but only now fully appreciate, that modeling is a perishable skill.  It isn’t like riding a bike.  The more you do it, the better and more efficient you will be at it.  Take time off, and your skills will quickly atrophy.

So, what are your tricks and tips for being better time managers?


  1. TV is the big killer. Once you get rid of that getting an hour at the bench (or with a book) every evening is much easier. You can listen to podcasts while your hands are busy and maybe learn something while modeling.

    Comment by Jeff Groves — December 23, 2020 @ 9:26 am

  2. That’s me for the last fifteen years David. I get started modeling again, it’s a struggle because I’m having to revisit everything, and then *BOOM!* some real life thing happens, and then it’s months before I can get back to the bench. I’ve been working on these two Tamiya Zekes forever, and I’m still on the interior. Why? I keep having to start over on my learning curve.

    Comment by Warren — December 23, 2020 @ 10:44 am

  3. Warren, The Tamiya Zeros are a great place to get your mojo back. Best model kits I have ever built.

    Comment by dknights — December 23, 2020 @ 11:41 am

  4. David, they have proven that I am my own worst enemy! As great as they are, there are some shortcomings with them I’m trying to correct. (Old hard-core, campaigner type here that when he was reenacting or doing living history, had to make sure the stitching on his uniform replicated the original exactly, or that I ate only food they ate then, etc.) However, correcting Tamiya’s mistakes, adding missing detail, etc. is forcing me to revisit or learn scratch-building, working with p/e, Albion Alloys tubing, etc., etc .

    Comment by Warren — December 23, 2020 @ 12:24 pm

  5. The Tamiya Zeros build up great out of the box, but they do also lend themselves to super detailing. Just don’t let the super detailing tasks kill the fun of the build.

    Comment by dknights — December 23, 2020 @ 2:26 pm

  6. For me it starts on January 1st as I sit down and analyse what accomplishments and maybe failures I had the previous year and then I make a outline of those items which I would hope to accomplish in the next year. I keep an accurate and up-to-date spreadsheet in excel to record my finishes, starts and purchases. I also track my travel for either club events, shows and swap meets.

    Years prior i used to keep count of every penny spent and hour booked to the hobby in a daily planer. Not quite that anal these days.

    But by having goals i find it easier to stay on track with my model time efficiently.

    And yes I agree with most everyone the television and social media are my two biggest time voids.

    Comment by Joe Porche — December 23, 2020 @ 3:01 pm

  7. David, they do just fall together. There have been times in this “batch build” when I’ve asked myself why I torture myself so. However, I’m taking it all as a learning experience, and hopefully I’ll be more efficient on my next builds as you said.

    Comment by Warren — December 23, 2020 @ 3:06 pm

  8. Joe, I do much the same thing at the beginning of each year in regard to planning for the upcoming year. In fact, if you listen carefully you might hear something about that on an upcoming podcast.

    Comment by dknights — December 23, 2020 @ 3:12 pm

  9. I think you have gotten to the same solution as me: organization and cleanliness. I think I am at my most creative when I am in a clean and clear workshop. Yet, I have such trouble maintaining that. I think it is a skill that needs to be developed or at least worked on regularly!

    Comment by ModelAirplaneMaker — December 23, 2020 @ 4:17 pm

  10. I had a major redo of my hobby bench/area this last summer. I bought some of the Hobby Zone modules to better organize my “stuff”*, built a dedicated booth for my airbrush, etc. I’m still working out some kinks, but hopefully, I’ll find the sweet spots where things need to go.

    *Are any of you like me and you just accumulate “stuff” you think will be handy for building, etc? Pieces of clear plastic to make windows, bits and pieces of wire, material for rigging, styrene, cardstock, etc

    Comment by Warren — December 23, 2020 @ 4:58 pm

  11. Yes, I am an accumulator.

    Comment by dknights — December 23, 2020 @ 8:13 pm

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